Jewellery retailers must develop better branding

Jewellery tastes are changing, requiring retailers to develop more sophisticated branding techniques and attract large corporates to the sector, experts revealed at the sixth annual Dubai City of Gold

Speaking on the second day of the gathering yesterday, Tawhid Abdullah, managing director, Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group said the Gulf region is a booming retail market with a combined GDP of $600 billion (Dh2.2trn).

He predicted the high average per capita income of the GCC countries would further fuel growth in the retail gold industry.

“We are building a better retail infrastructure as is evident from the sprawling shopping malls coming up in every GCC country.

“In the GCC there are currently six million square meters of retail space, 4.5 million square meters under construction and there is potential for this to reach 16 million square meters by 2015. For the jewellery sector, retailing is becoming far more sophisticated with the new focus on retail ambience, stunning visual merchandising, marketing and loyalty programmes.

“Branding is also increasingly playing an important role in jewellery retailing,” said Abdullah.

India, with its massive jewellery market, was a focus of the conference.

Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive, Lifestyle Divison of Reliance Retail discussed the consolidation of the trade in India and the rapid growth of large, corporate jewellery houses in the country.

“Organised retail in India now stands at four per cent with an unbranded mass market commanding $14bn of a total of $20bn – growing at 10 per cent per year.

“With social, economic and political transformations and a relatively young, demanding population the picture is changing in favour of the organised sector. Corporates are venturing into jewellery retail and industry bodies and the government is promoting initiatives in design, marketing, quality and an enhanced customer experience,” Kurien said.

Currently, only $750m of the larger $20bn market is controlled by corporate jewellery houses, estimated V Govind Raj, Vice-President, Retail and Marketing, Titan Industries.

Of those, one player, Tanishq, a subsidiary of Titan Industries, controls 65 per cent of the market share.

“The profile of Indian customers is changing,” said Raj. “With easy availability of credit facilities and credit cards and a younger population, especially women, the gold buying pattern is changing rapidly. There is a revolution in Indian gold trade and the entry of big corporates will regularise the sector.”